Last night, As I sat listening to a musician play praise and worship music, I laid back and listened to what was going on in my mind.
It wasn’t like I was singing along with the words, since there was no overhead projector, power point or handouts that I could refer to. It was just this guy getting into the spirit—and as we were in the same room, we could get there as well.
So, during this time of worship, several thoughts came to mind—one of them being a fear that I have in my life. This being a fear of being “mediocre”. I wasn’t totally sure of what the word meant so I looked it up on my handy palm pilot dictionary. Mediocre means average.
I didn’t even know that I had this fear but as the guy played worship music I opened up my heart and mind and asked God to speak to me. And this is what I got: I don’t want to feel that I have lived my life as just an ordinary guy. I want my life to mean something—to have meant something when I pass on into glory and all that.
If you have ever wondered what a person does when he passes the 50 year old mark—this is it. We begin to wonder if we have lived life to its’ fullest. The mistakes we have made begin to pale in comparison to the roads never taken—the paths we never wandered down.
Now, most of the people I know would never classify me as being average—most would probably say that I am unique and unclassifiable. But the feeling remains.
Another part of this thought process is this: what have I done during my life that is valuable and worthy and will remain after I am gone. And this is perhaps the essence of what I was feeling that night.
Where does value come from? What does it apply to?
To answer that question and really believe the answer is the goal.
Value as I am beginning to see it cannot come from without—it must come from within. In other words, if I base my feeling of worth on whether or not I have pleased you or made you happy, that is not “real” value or worth. I may feel good for a time but I am going to need my tank filled up again and so my self-worth becomes performance based. I perform—you affirm—I feel good for a while—I begin to doubt my value—I perform—you affirm. This begins a never ending cycle of superficial madness that is never quite enough to rest on.
But finding value in the fact that I was created in the image of God and that He finds me very interesting—interesting enough to send His Son so that I might have life and that more abundantly—this is the real deal.
This feeling of being valued is not dependant on whether or not I get all the notes right on the night of my big solo performance. Yet I still think of value and worth as being tied up into a performance based model of behavior.
This attitude was no doubt passed on to me by my parents and try as I might to eradicate it, probably passed on to my children as well. I once made the statement that no matter how good we have been as parents, our kids will nevertheless find something to react against or feel harmed by. They will blame some character flaw on us until they reach the time of true enlightenment and realize that things were not all that bad after all.
So the things that I felt my parents fell short on, I tried to shore up in my relationship with my kids. I know I wasn’t always sucessful but I did try to help them see that they had value and worth within themselves rather than in what they did to please me. I would tell them that I didn’t always like or agree with what they did, but that I always loved them regardless. I guess some of that was probably lost in translation or was negated by whatever dna vibe I was sending out at the moment.
But we do our best and if the truth be known, leave the rest for God to clean up.
I know I haven’t fully expored this train of thought but will have to put at least this part to bed and wait on further insight or revelation on the subject.
Have a good ride!
Well, I did have a good (bicycle) ride, today, to the high school, where I worked as a substitute teacher in science classes where I learned about tectonic plates and DNA. Then I came home, and found myself thoroughly inspired by two LFTLR entries, to which I respond: I’m glad that, in your transparent midlife crisis entry, you ended up talking about the four human beings (the offspring) who are evidence of your personal significance and uniquity as an individual, grain of sand in the universe, father, husband, child of God, elder at the gate…all of those things that you are.Your musings remind me of the exchange that MUST have taken place at the THE EAGLE AND THE CHILD, a pub that we went to in Oxford, England. It’s a place where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis used to get together and talk about life. What we’re doing with this blogging thing is a little like that, only this is 2007 version, online. Althought we HAVE share many moments in this precious life face to face, and will again…Keep your wheels spinning, my friend, you long ride progressing. Your shared experiences are supremely inspirational to me and, I’m sure, to others as well.And, though I mention your legacy of four wonderful human beings as a source of significance, I don’t want to imply that that is the only one that you manifest. The open book of your life is a true testimony to the transforming power of Christ in all of us. Keep up the good work.
I have your same fear of mediocratey and whether that is nature or nurture dervived I know not – maybe a little of both. I think part of that is from the Lord, although the devil wants to twist it and make it his, it was put there by the Lord so that we are always stepping forward, always working to be our best. All of us have an intristic value but what we do with that and how we step forward is a choice – aka the road to which all of us forge for ourselves.
The first step in overcoming that fear is to embrace the person that God created you to be. I don’t remember my parents ever telling me that I was the best thing that ever happened to them—that I was a part of God’s plan in their lives. I know that your parents did…that your dad told you every night that he loved you. That when you made artsy things, you were supported and told that you could do anything that you set you mind to. I firmly believe that you have many of your parents strengths and some of their weaknesses as well. But we can do all things through God who strengthens us. Believe and receive. Become all that you were created to be. Listen and you will hear the voice of God saying…”this is the way, walk in it.” Be blessed. I love you.